Bahrain has granted citizenship to 5,000 Sunni Syrians, a measure seen as al-Khalifa’s plan to change the demographics of the Shiite-dominated country to the benefit of the Sunni population.
“The Bahraini government in collaboration with the UAE’s Economic Cooperation Office in Jordan has attracted and granted citizenship to Sunni Syrians,” an informed source in the Syrian refugee camps in Jordan disclosed on Sunday.
The source said by the start of the 2013, 5,000 Sunni Syrian citizens residing in refugee camps in Jordan received Bahrain citizenship.
The Syrian nationals received 10,000 dinars after being transferred to Bahrain by Qatar Airways flights and they are given a house and a job with a monthly $825 income, the source said.
Earlier reports also said that Bahrain’s national air carrier, Gulf Air, has transited a total of 1,000 loyalists to Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein to Manama on several flights, including on Gulf Air Flight No. GF976, on December 22.
“The Bahraini government has begun granting nationality to and recruiting (former Iraqi dictator) Saddam Hussein’s forces and has already attracted 1,000 of these forces who have become Bahraini citizens after going through administrative procedures,” an informed source at the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) told FNA on Wednesday.
The Saddam loyalists were immediately granted Bahrain’s citizenship, given houses, and recruited by the country’s security organization upon their arrival in the tiny Persian Gulf country.
They were the last group of Saddam’s loyalists who were transferred to Manama International Airport from Amman, Jordan’s capital. They had fled Iraq through the country’s land borders with Jordan.
A former commander of Iraq’s presidential guard, Tareq al-Shamri, was in charge of transferring Saddam’s loyalists to Bahrain from Jordan.
This is not the first time that the Bahrain’s Al Khalifa regime grants Bahraini citizenship and recruits mercenaries from other countries in a bid to continue with the suppression of its opponents who attend daily protests in Manama and other cities across the country in thousands.
The Bahraini government which feels desperate to bring back calm to the crisis-hit country had also earlier recruited about 5,000 Salafis from Jordan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan.
Anti-government protesters have been holding peaceful demonstrations across Bahrain since mid-February 2011, calling for an end to the Al Khalifa dynasty’s over-40-year rule.
Violence against the defenseless people escalated after a Saudi-led conglomerate of police, security and military forces from the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) member states – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar – were dispatched to the tiny Persian Gulf kingdom on March 13, 2011, to help Manama crack down on peaceful protestors.
So far, tens of protesters have been killed, hundreds have gone missing and thousands of others have been injured.
Police clampdown on protesters continues daily. Authorities have tried to stop organized protests by opposition parties over the past month by refusing to license them and using tear gas on those who turn up.
The opposition coalition wants full powers for the elected parliament and a cabinet fully answerable to parliament.
Amnesty International has announced that more than 200 people, arrested as part of the clampdown against Shiite political opposition in Bahrain, are at the risk of being tortured. Around 250 individuals in Bahrain, who are believed to have been detained, are at risk of torture, the group said. Human Rights Watch also accused Bahrain of restricting the travel of rights activists to prevent them from talking about the arrest of opposition members.
The Sunni-dominated government has intensified the crackdown against the Shiite population, arresting dozens of opposition figures on the allegation of planning to topple the government.
The population of Bahrain is predominantly Shiite. However, the majority group has long complained of being discriminated against by the Sunni-dominated government in obtaining jobs and receiving services.